Parkdale Market celebrates its 90th season

By Anita Grace –

This summer, Parkdale Market celebrates its 90th anniversary. The popular local market offers fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers every day from May through November.

“It’s a real farmers’ market,” says local resident Catherine Barrette, who has been coming to the market for over 60 years. “It’s a joy.”

The market opened on July 10, 1924. A little over 40 years later, the park was opened behind it. The two venues complement each other well.

“We love it here,” says mother of three, Jenn Fitzpatrick. Her kids help choose their own fruits and vegetables at the market stalls, then head over to play at the park and wading pool.

On July 12, the volunteer-run Hintonburg Economic Development Committee, hosted a birthday party bash for the market. With free food, music and entertainment, the event was a testament to the active support the market enjoys from residents and businesses alike.

“It’s such a beautiful place,” said Azeb Debebe who was sitting in the shade and taking in the outdoor concert. She praised the volunteers and local community associations who invest time and energy to provide community events like the anniversary celebration.

“This really shows how a market like Parkdale can bring people together,” commented Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi, who dropped by to enjoy the celebration. “Local food, healthy living and community all come together here.”

For a short history of the Parkdale Market, check out this Early Days column

Peter and Jean Legare have been coming to Parkdale Market for over 50 years. “When we were younger we would come every Saturday,” they recall. They praised the quality of the produce and the improvements to stalls so that vendors and shoppers are protected from the elements. “It’s the place to come if you want fresh stuff,” they say. Photos by Anita Grace
Deborah Bellware appreciates the community feel of Parkdale Market. “People get to know you and recognize you,” she said. “Everybody’s friendly here.” She adds that it is a wonderful place that is continually improving as volunteers share their time and talents.
Catherine Barrette has been buying her fresh fruits and vegetables from the Parkdale Market for 60 years. “Back then, [the vendors] came at 5 in the morning,” she recalls. “Everything was fresh and you could buy everything – all kinds of vegetables and flowers.”

What was going in the area 90 years ago?

1. Only two years previously, Ottawans crowded into Château Laurier ballroom to hear the first local radio transmission of a live concert in Montreal.

2. Our head of state was King George V and the Prime Minister was William Lyon Mackenzie King.

3. The 1924–25 Ottawa Senators season was the club’s 40th season of play and 8th season in the NHL.

4. The Royal Canadian Air Force was just formed.

5. It only cost 10 cents to hop on the streetcar and go downtown.

6. Automobiles on the road at this time would have likely been Ford Model-Ts, which cost around $260.

7. Nepean High School was a brand new building, having been founded two years previously in 1922.

8. The Plant Bath was built to try to improve the hygiene and well being of the city’s lower classes.

9. 1924 was the year the Ottawa Civic Hospital was completed. It was an amalgamation of three older institutions: Carleton General Protestant Hospital, St. Luke’s General Hospital, and the Ottawa Maternity Hospital. The new building had 500 beds to serve the community.

10. It would be another three years before Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King placed the first trans-Atlantic phone call to British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin on October 3, 1927.

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